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MBA Internship Merges Health Care, Finance

University of St. Thomas MBA student Heath Whitaker is taking full advantage of the UST’s location only minutes away from the Texas Medical Center and downtown business centers, which provide UST students opportunities for internships, networking and career advancement.

Whitaker, who graduates in December, was selected for a summer internship at Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center last summer. In addition to observing surgeries and meeting executives, Whitaker learned first-hand how finance and the health care industry can work hand-in-hand. The internship gave Whitaker a new career direction and invaluable experience for his job search after graduation.

“Health care finance is one of the most promising, fast-growing areas in the financial industry,” said Dr. Joe Ueng, chair of the Economics, Finance and Decision Sciences Department. “Heath exemplifies the student who is hungry for learning and absorbs everything around him. At his internship, he gained experience he could never learn in a classroom.”

Whitaker’s internship and subsequent research focused on how to maintain and improve the level of health care while minimizing costs and patients’ length of stay. Ueng, who is conducting faculty research on health care finance, said he is working to identify opportunities where he and Whitaker can present their research.

Whitaker earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Texas Tech University. After working in Dallas for three years managing Internet commerce, inventory and logistics for a luxury automotive company, Whitaker was ready for the next challenge. He enrolled at UST’s Cameron School of Business in 2009.

“The thing I like most about the Cameron School of Business was that professors are experienced, knowledgeable and approachable,” Whitaker said. “Their focus was teaching me what I need to be successful. I really felt that in every one of my classes.”

After experiencing a large university environment as an undergraduate, Whitaker said taking MBA classes with only 20 other students kept him on his toes.

“At UST, you can’t sit in the back of the class and expect to succeed,” Whitaker said. “The small classes and individual attention from professors hold you accountable and prepare students better for the business world.”

As the son of a Methodist minister, Whitaker appreciates how UST integrates faith and ethics through all disciplines, including the graduate business program.

“My faith has always been extremely important to me. The business world is competitive, and it can be cut throat at times,” Whitaker said. “There is a lot more to business than just the bottom line. The health care industry is a prime example of an industry that must be guided by ethics. Patient care cannot be solely dictated by dollars and cents.”

For more information on the MBA program, call 713-525-2100 or e-mail